Thursday, May 26, 2016

7 Crippling Behaviors Billionaire Mark Cuban Would Never Do As An Artist by Paula Soito

I just finished this awesome art article. 
Here are the takeaways.

You should probably read the whole thing on Paula Soito's Blog

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/7-crippling-behaviors-billionaire-mark-cuban-would-never-paula-soito

Crippling Behaviors:

See if these describe you. I'm pretty sure Mark wouldn’t be caught dead doing these:

Behavior #1: You don’t think of your creative business as a legitimate business.

According to Mark, what you bring to the universe should be used to enhance your life and I agree.
This could never be so true as it is for artists. Your talent is unique to you and therefore, by nature of being exclusive, it is quantifiable (there's a whole different discussion to be had on determining that, however) giving you a unique advantage over mass productions.

Simply put, your originality potentially makes your creation's desirability high and positions it as a prime product or talent for trade in the form of money, goods or services. Being that this is the case and that you create using your very own unique, 1-in-7-billion, talent, it would be unjust to not also view it as a legitimate means of earning money which enables you to continue to offer it to patrons who wish to own it.

Ok, you might be saying, “It just sounds too business-like. I left my 9 to 5 to get the hell away from that.” I get that, but in order to stay the hell away from that 9 to 5, you need to earn a living that replaces it.

Thinking of your art as a business does not demean its significance. To view it from a business perspective (as well as a spiritual, aesthetic, and historical perspective) requires a shift for some that feels uncomfortable, maybe even degrading or irreverent.

Selling your work in order to fund future creations and grow as an artist is empowering as much as it is a contribution of expression for both the artist who creates it and their patrons who enjoy it.

Behavior #2: You’ve taken out loans, hired people or rented studio space that’s outside your budget in order to present yourself as more professional.

Mark is clear on this one. He’s against entrepreneurs having debt. He says debt comes in two forms: money and people. The message here is to stay debt free at all cost and Mark is 100% convinced that debt keeps us from reaching our dreams quickly and for some, at all.

Sleep on a couch in a shared apartment if necessary. Meet clients or patrons at a restaurant or other shared spaces for appointments, showings or events. Overall, never overextend yourself for ANY
REASON. Acquiring debt forces your hands to be tied.

Think of ways you can use free or inexpensive methods to better present yourself or your work. Then as your income rises, rent, buy or hire to fit your budget. Whatever you do, keep from owing anyone if it’s possible and get where you want to be 10 to 100x faster.

Behavior #3: You aren’t studying your competition.

As I said earlier, your work is unique so it can feel as if you have no real direct competition. However, consider this huge warning from Mark's book.

Having a unique product or talent definitely sets you apart, but competition can come in many forms. It isn’t always a straight across trade.

For example, you may be the creator of beautiful mosaic garden ware such as benches, bird baths, bird feeders and such. You see only a few artists online whose work is similar to yours and no one locally who's offering what you are. So, you decide it’s best to keep your head down and work on.
But what do you do when sales begin to decline? If you weren’t paying close attention to your competition then you wouldn’t know that a new artist nearby has started making copper garden ware that’s becoming quite popular in your area or that aqua blue is all the craze this Spring and the department stores are selling out of garden ware in that color.

If you were paying close attention then you may have decided to incorporate those things into your works. Or even better, you divert away from trends and offer something completely new for the season altogether.

Whatever you do, look up. Look around. Be ready for your competition when they come, not if they come because competition is as certain as death and taxes.

Behavior #4: You're your own best friend.

What’s wrong with that? A lot, according to Mark. The reason? We tend to lie to ourselves. I was not in agreement with this one at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how I unrealistically boost myself up at times when I'm feeling frustrated, defeated or not good enough. Instead of being more logical and forming a plan of attack to remedy the situation that made me feel that way in the first place, I nurse my ego way too long.

I get it that sometimes we really need to be our own best friend. I also realize some of you may be saying, “Ha! I’m not my own best friend at all. I’m my own worst enemy!” It’s true we can be cruel to ourselves, but even worse for business sake is when we’re too nice.
Instead, enlist a friend who can pick you up from time to time. Lean on them when your chipped ego needs repair, but don't befriend yourself in the business sense because you might end up telling yourself you’re doing great, that you’ve done more than you need to, that people’s criticisms are wrong, that your eye for color, form, etc… is always on point, that your work has more to offer than anyone else’s….

Just say no to being your own best business friend. Instead, keep it real. Keep it honest.

Behavior #5: You’re too comfortable.

If effort is the great equalizer, then it's possible to even the playing field by not getting too comfortable.

According to Mark, once you’re aware of who your competition is ask yourself, “What do I need to do (relentlessly) to understand my competitor even better than anyone else?”

By learning everything you can about them, you gain much more than simple insights. You’ll not only see what’s working, but also what’s not. This opens up avenues for you to swoop in and conquer. There are two things to do here:

Learn where they’re lacking and take the reigns. If their website is not up to par, be sure yours shines.
Learn where they’re killing it and copy. If their shows are highly attended, document and follow the processes they use to market, advertise, and present their works. Find out who their connections are.
Overall, work, work, work. Keep your edge and go for it and you’ll definitely come out ahead.

Lesson #6: You take on new opportunities before it's appropriate.

This one shocked me. How can taking on new opportunities be bad? I thought I knew where Mark was going with this one, but I also had a rebuttal.

Here’s his explanation. Mark clearly spells out that we can easily drown in opportunity. New opportunities are everywhere. At no time in history has it been easier to nurture, learn and execute on new ideas and ventures, but being able to do this in less time isn’t always beneficial.

Never in history has a person been able to teach a class to a group of students half a world away, learn how to crochet, and set up an ecommerce store all in one afternoon. It’s extremely easy for us to start, learn or do whatever we want.

Instead, Mark says to stay focused on your core competency. Look closely at ways you can strengthen your offerings, and not at taking on new shiny ideas that will weaken your hold on your current market.

See it as an investment. Put on blinders. Say no to people. Monitor your time browsing the net. Stay the course. The result will be expertise and expertise has a funny way of putting you on top.

Lesson 7: You’re a one-person show.

It’s stating the obvious to say no one can do everything. Even makers and creators have to do tasks that take them away from their craft. There are specific things we don’t need to do ourselves. So, delegate. Don’t go in debt over it, but do it in this order:
Make a list of all the tasks keeping you from focusing on your core competency.
Highlight everything that can be done easily by someone else.
Decide what’s most worth your money (and within your budget).
Delegate and automate with online tools, software and/or people to get it all done.

Now that you’ve taken care of that, allot only specific slots of time for the labor-intensive tasks you have to do yourself. Stick tightly to your schedule and always keep going back, going back, and going back to your craft.

How would you use Mark Cuban’s advice? As always, wishing you huge success! Take care.
Paula Soito